Mike Memoli talks to Sen. Mitch McConnell and comes away with a portrait of a politician who has nothing left to fear from the right-wing pressure groups that failed to defeat him. We know that McConnell believes that 51 Republican votes would be enough to basically gut Obamacare in the reconciliation process. What does he say now, about what conservatives can expect?
"We're not going to have 60 votes," said McConnell, who has developed a reputation as a shrewd political strategist and master of arcane Senate procedure. "It is important to remember Barack Obama will still be president for two more years, and the veto pen is a powerful thing. So we need to be realistic."
And yet, in an interview (for now) loosely described by the AP, McConnell was saying something unrealistic, promising repeal but not grappling with the effects in his state.
The veteran senator won't say what would happen to the 413,000 Kentuckians who have health insurance through the state's health care exchange.
McConnell told reporters Friday that the fate of the state exchange is unconnected to the federal health care law. Yet the exchange would not exist, if not for the law that created it.
None of this makes sense. Maybe it's the result of McConnell only having to dispatch a primary opponent who challenged him generally and incoherently -- maybe it was catching.